On the Road Again (and again and again)
» Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life. « Jack Kerouac, author (1922-1969)
It is that time of year when my suitcase becomes my home, when I travel coast-to-coast, shake hands and get in touch with industry leaders. I have come to recognize the value in business travel, however, sometimes it can be brutal.
Case in point: Our publishing's team recent return to the East Coast from Chicago. It was a journey filled with as many great surprises and victories as tired defeats. Anyone who has flown out of O'Hare International Airport surely understands.
The adventure began July, 23, 4:00 p.m. During our ride to O'Hare, we discovered our car was riding parallel with President Obama's motorcade. Yelling like a bunch of girls at a Beatles concert, we got the thumbs up from a secret service agent (a giant triumph in my book).
6:40 p.m.—Delayed, we killed time singing bad 80s songs via Pandora stations on my BlackBerry in Chili's Too. While this was fun, it was a little long for my battery. The red low-battery indicator began to flash.
The adventure culminated when the white-fedora-wearing Mickey Dolenz—drummer for the The Monkees—popped in. He told us he was hopping a flight to upstate New York for a gig. (Yes, we played Monkees' songs on Pandora.)
10:00 p.m.—Exhausted, I hurried onto the plane, buckled in and prepared to sleep until we touched ground in Philadelphia. A good dream, but it wasn't to be. At 11:30 p.m. we were informed there would be no flight to Philadelphia that evening. Everyone pulled out their cell phones to reschedule their flights. I looked to mine—blinking red light, dying battery—darn that Pandora!
12:30 a.m.—After a 45-minute wait in line to get to the counter, I got rebooked for a flight late the next morning. We grabbed a cab and raced to the airline courtesy hotel, in hopes to beat the other passengers, but to no avail—yet another line awaited us.
1:30 a.m.—At last I arrived in my courtesy room, which, dare I say, left a lot to be desired. At this point, not only was I exhausted, I was also starving. Typically I do not shamelessly plug products in my editor's note, but this month is a sincere exception. I remembered, deep inside my bag, I had some brownies Maple Ridge Farms had kindly given to us. Also in my bag was the softest T-shirt that had been given to me by American Apparel. Delirious with joy, I quickly changed into my comfy tee and ate my brownie. Victory! Thank you Maple Ridge Farms and American Apparel. A short while later, at long last, sleep.
July 24th, 2:30 p.m.—Finally home. While the trip was far longer than expected, it was the little things that kept me going. There's a good lesson in there for distributors; while the trip bordered on disaster, it was those unexpected bonuses, like the brownie and T-shirt, that made the experience tolerable. What's more, I certainly won't forget them when I think of the experience, and when I retell the story they'll be mentioned again and again.